CHICAGO - Mayor Lori Lightfoot is considering a momentous change to Chicago police procedure: requiring officers to get a supervisor’s permission before beginning a foot chase.
"No one should die as a result of a foot chase," she said.
The mayor promised to announce details of a new policy "soon."
The issue gained new urgency after an officer chased and fatally shot Adam Toledo. Video of the incident shows the 13-year old dumping what appears to be a firearm a split-second before he turns and raises his hands. Toledo apparently was handed the gun by Ruben Roman, who allegedly had just used it to fire eight rounds at a passing vehicle. Apparently, no one was hit.
Personal injury lawyer Arturo Jauregui called a news conference to urge reform.
"This is a tragedy that could have and should have been prevented had the police department had clear procedures governing the use of lethal force against children during foot chases," Jauregui said.
Rewriting police policy on all foot chases has now become a hot topic at City Hall. Alderman Brian Hopkins says an official in the mayor's office told him officers could soon be required prior to a foot chase to do what is now required before a vehicle chase: getting permission from higher ups.
"Of course that raises obvious problems," Hopkins said. "In the time it would take to do that, the person you're supposed to be chasing is actually long gone. The point would be moot then."
Hopkins noted one unintended consequence of the vehicle pursuit policy.
"We're seeing more vehicles flee from police officers because word has gotten out that they're probably not going to get permission to chase you," he said.
The mayor acknowledged the dilemma on Monday.
"I don't want people out there who are dangerous to think, ‘well, if I just run, then I’m safe. I can continue to wreak havoc.’ We can't live in that world either," Lightfoot said.
Hopkins says its past time to rewrite Chicago’s current vague rules.
"I'm sure the officers themselves would agree with me. The more guidance we can give them, the more comfortable they'll feel when they have to make these high-stakes decisions in the blink of an eye," Hopkins said.